Chandrashekhar’s mother refutes malicious news report

A full decade ago, Chandrashekhar was shot dead on the streets of Siwan by goons of RJD MP Shahabuddin. Ever since, his mother Kaushalya Devi has been at the forefront of the struggle for justice, relentlessly campaigning against Shahabuddin, participating in every campaign of the CPI(ML), inspiring students and youth with Chandrashekhar’s example, and even challenging Shahabuddin’s reign of terror by contesting polls from the CPI(ML) in his stronghold, Siwan town itself.

Kaushalya Devi was present in court when Shahbuddin was recently convicted for the abduction and murder of another CPI(ML) cadre Chhotelal Gupta. Papers and TV channels all over the country reported her sense of triumph at the conviction, her demand that Shahabuddin be dismissed from Parliament, and her eager wait for him to be convicted for Chandrashekhar’s murder too.

A recent story that appeared in Tehelka, however, caused her much anguish, because of its malicious distortion of facts, and of her own words and emotions. The story (‘Betrayed by the revolution’, Tehelka June 2 ’07) said that CPI(ML) had greeted Shahabuddin’s conviction with great joy, but that their enthusiasm was not shared by her; she equated Shahabuddin and the CPI(ML) as doing “ugly politics”. It quoted her as saying that ten years after his murder, she realized how selfish his party was. CPI(ML) had used her as a “useful political weapon” for some years and then neglected her; and was now “thriving on the politics of dead bodies”. The story quoted her as saying that soon after Chandrashekhar’s murder, senior leaders of the party were selling T-Shirts bearing his image at high prices. CPI(ML) had “almost forced” her to donate a large amount of money for a statue of Chandu, and had then delayed installing it for three years. She sometimes “saw the party’s hand in her son’s murder”. Finally the story reported CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya being “apologetic” on the matter.

Needless to say, Kaushalya Devi in her home in Bindsar village, Siwan, was totally unaware of the nature of the story that had appeared in Tehelka. When told of what it said, she was shocked. In a statement issued by her, she said that it was CPI(ML), her son’s and her own party, whose struggle had in fact made it possible for Chandrashekhar’s statue to stand in Siwan town. It was because “our comrades risked their lives to give evidence that Shahabuddin could be convicted in two cases”, she said. She said it “our party’s MLA and our comrades went to Delhi to demand that Parliament dismiss Shahabuddin, but the Speaker refused to even meet them. It is a shame that this killer continues to remain in Parliament.”

“I have spoken to many reporters after Shahabuddin’s conviction; but this report has twisted my words to distort their meaning, and has also put words in my mouth”, she declared. Kaushalya Devi made it clear that “Chandrashekhar was my only child; preserving his memory is my only interest. Just as I have donated my plot of land for a school in his name, I had also set aside Rs. 40, 000 for a statue of my son that would stand defiantly in the same town where he was shot dead. For me, I have no better use for that money.” The statue could not be installed for some years, because local administration acting under Shahabuddin’s pressure kept denying permission. She declared that no T-Shirt with Chandrashekhar’s image had ever been sold, and she strongly condemned the malicious way in which she had been made a mouthpiece for patent falsehoods.

Speaking of the political conspiracy to protect Chandrashekhar’s killer and prevent the CBI enquiry from reaching a conclusion and even chargesheeting Shahabuddin, she recalled that at the time of her son’s killing, there was a Left-supported UF Government at the Centre of which RJD was a constituent. Subsequently, the NDA (now in power in Bihar) came to power, which again kept the matter in cold storage for their entire tenure of five years. She reiterated her demand that the CBI enquiry be completed without delay and Shahabuddin dismissed from Parliament.